Inspiring and insightful are not just empty words when it comes to speaking of Melanie Franco. She embodies what modern business needs to demonstrate: sincerity, openness to change, engagement. Key Note Speaker at prestigious events and Director in the health sector, Melanie shares her advice on career, business and work-life balance in the modern world in this warm interview.
We really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us, Melanie. We are particularly keen to get to hear how you see work and fulfillment in the world today, and how you envision the future of the good old work-life balance. So, let’s get cracking if you don’t mind.
One thing that stands out in your profile is the idea to dream big. Some struggle with that concept. I’m sure you’ve explained tons of times why it’s important to dream big. How would you advise someone struggling to dream big to get started?
Dreaming Big is a skill I learned as a small child. I was born into a family that struggled financially. I had to create some of my own toys with materials I found laying around the house or out of objects I would find in the wooded area behind our house. I had an incredible imagination and would spend hours making up my own adventures.
The sky is the limit and the only barriers are in our minds.
As I grew into a young woman, I entered into the school of arts and continued to use that imagination and creativity in the field of music production and broadcasting. No matter what barriers I hit, I just turned my passion knob higher. I heard a quote once that strong women take the bricks that are thrown at her to build her empire. That is exactly what I have done and what I suggest to other young women that are struggling. Take the nay saying and use it as ammunition to PROVE THEM WRONG. The sky is the limit and the only barriers are in our minds.
You seem highly fulfilled with your work. Did you find it easy to find your mission, your calling? Did you already have a clear vision of what you’d want to do when you were back in school or is it something that built itself with time and experience?
I love what I do. I had no vision when I was young. I knew I wanted a career, I knew I wanted it to be fun, engaging, and creative, however, I was envious of my peers that had no issue choosing a major in college. I started out as a bio major, then switched to broadcasting. I literally bumbled from job to job until I became a foster mother. I fell in love with the idea of healthcare because I had a medically fragile foster baby. I was in clinic lines and became his medical advocate. I decided to go back to graduate school for Child Medical Advocacy and the rest is history. The more I learned about healthcare and the future of work – the more excited I became. I absolutely LOVE what I do! It shows.
I think anyone can clearly see the career and life coach emanating from you. Have you yourself worked with a career or life coach in the past? How did they help you in your path?
I grew up in a tumultuous family. There was always a lot of drama and we were mandated to go to family counseling. I loved those sessions. I would sit and watch the dynamic in the room. As I grew older, I found myself reading more and more books on social interaction. When I began to foster children, I was able to take classes on how to interact with children that had been suffering in abuse and neglect situations. I just kept reading and through LinkedIn began to follow influencers like Jacob Morgan and Brene Brown. I became obsessed with the idea of social media, branding, future of work, culture, influencers and corporate instigators. The rest is history!
I guess that brings us to fulfillment in the modern work world. Do you find there is a particular work-life balance for better fulfillment?
We need to bring back the human side of our workplace!
I do. You cannot work your life away. You have to set boundaries. I have spent years learning to balance family, friends, career, and hobbies. I intentionally found a hobby that I love. I farm on the weekends. I love animals so I foster rescue dogs. When I am at work I give 150% of my time and attention to my team and my tasks. I do the job of about 3 people. When I leave, I leave the work at work and give 150% to my family, friends, and hobbies. I think too many leaders sacrifice their own happiness. They become robotic in their leadership approach and they lack empathy for the humanistic needs of their team. We need to bring back the human side of our workplace!
As an extension on that, do you believe it is possible to switch off from work nowadays given all the modern technologies and the fact that we are always connected? And do you yourself manage to completely switch off from work at times?
I sure do. My hobby is farming. Not a lot of modern technology there. We are still using methods that my great grandfather used on his farm in England. My cell is usually in the UTV and I am very hands on. It helps me to completely disconnect because there are no temptations for distraction. It is the greatest choice I made in my life to take on this hobby.
Finally, I believe we are all curious to know what such an esteemed expert as you has to say about the future of work. There’s no denying the day-to-day running of work has greatly evolved of late with modern technologies. How do you see the future of work and are there any particular technological advances that you believe will impact work in the near future?
A plant will not grow without routine care like water and sun. Team members are no different.
The future of work will find a DECREASE in the idea of Managers and Directors as they have been seen today. You will see leaders transition to coaches. You will see team members more empowered with more autonomy to do real work that adds value to the company. That empowerment and autonomy will in turn allow the team members to feel more connected and invested in what they do. We are already initiating that in my current team. Our succession planning process is AMAZING and we build team members up and grow our future hires internally. Unlike other leaders who are fearful of not having managers and leaders to replace those that are retiring, I have a wonderful group ready to take on those roles. It’s all about training, development, and constant coaching.
A plant will not grow without routine care like water and sun. Team members are no different. Many leaders forget to care for their team. They only speak to them when things are going poorly and their only interactions are to discipline. Not a good model if you are looking to build culture.
Melanie, thank you so much for all of that. It was a real pleasure talking to you about fulfillment and work, life and career. Your passion clearly shows and is honestly contagious. We understand better now what drives everyone to your sphere.
And to everyone looking to strike that healthy work-life balance or seeking a positive and constructive career development, make sure you follow or get in touch with Melanie. We found your advice on replacing HAVE with GET in one of your recent posts particularly inspiring and insightful.
By the by, on Intch, you don’t HAVE to network, you GET to network. That’s the key. Let the AI algorithm and the favor-based community drive your networking into an easy, intuitive flow. Some have even described the app as their own personal Chief Networking Officer.
Stories like this inspire me a lot. I see a part of myself in them, because in my childhood there was a lot of drama too. Thanks for sharing.
I would like as many people as possible to see this story and never be afraid to change their lives, dream big and try new things throughout life.
She seems like a great coach – insights on team and management seen very rational
I see that it’s the people who make such great pivots are the ones who become coaches after all – I wonder why that is
Work-life balance is def something we need more of – it’s even harder these days when people are holding to jobs like there’s no tomorrow (and for good reason) but there will be no back-up life after all
Brene Brown is my favorite author!